Somewhat surprisingly, it’s not just the manual labour jobs that get affected, “age-related decline” hits even well-educated professionals.
This according to research conducted by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research.
The research affirmed that as we get older, not all our skills decline at the same rate. And in some ways, we get better. Older workers tend to be more knowledgeable than younger workers, research has found. Though it can take longer for older people to learn new skills or process new information, they are often much better at tasks they’ve practiced extensively. Physical ability varies, too. An older worker who can’t balance on a roof or deliver a dishwasher might have no trouble holding on to a broom.
When writing our book ‘Marketing to the Ageing Consumer’ we codified the physiological effects of age that will impact the way people behave as consumers, citizens, employees and patients and consolidated the thinking into an series of Age-Friendly iPad apps.
Taking these differences into account, the Center for Retirement Research used U.S. government data to rate each of 954 occupations on the likelihood that its required skills will decline with age. The result was a “susceptibility index,” with compensation and benefits managers ranking lowest and dancers at the top.
Some white-collar jobs are more susceptible than others due largely to cognitive issues. “Fluid intelligence,” the ability to process new information and situations, tends to decline with age, while “crystallized intelligence,” your knowledge of facts and how to perform particular tasks, generally increases through your 50s and 60s, researchers have found, with little decline after that. One reason designers and stock traders rank higher, or are more susceptible to decline, than, say, teachers and academics.
The common notion that all white-collar workers can work longer, or that all blue-collar workers cannot, is overly simplistic” the study’s authors concluded. For example, photography, a job that can require lots of fluid intelligence, can be more susceptible to age-related decline than jobs as cooks or cleaners, which depend on physical and cognitive skills that last late into life.
To learn more about the effects of ageing, download this free pdf; 25-effects-of-ageing.